Tag Archives: water

Morning At Schwabacher Landing

Morning At Schwabacher Landing

A serene morning at Schwabacher Landing, Grand Teton National Park, Wyoming

I’m all done with my national park portion of my road trip move from Texas to Washington State.  I’ve visited 5 national parks on this trip and have come away with some stunning photos (imo).  I’m in Bozeman, Montana, visiting friends and will leave tomorrow to continue on to central Washington.  It’s been an awesome trip, so far, but I’m ready to see the end of the road (literally).

Here is an image I captured one early morning at Schwabacher Landing in Grand Teton National Park.  No visit is complete without a stop in this area.  Be warned, though.  Except for a very short portion of paved road, the rest of the route is a gravelly, bumpy, potholey drive to the parking area.  And it’s best to arrive in the morning, not only for lovely lighting but to beat the crowds (if you visit in the summer).  Do walk along the trail as far as you can, because there are many views with still water and mountain reflections all along the way.

Copyright Rebecca L. Latson, all rights reserved.

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Filed under Grand Teton National Park, National Parks, Photography, Uncategorized

Notes From The Field: Photographic Advice For A Mount Desert Island, Maine, Kayak Tour

Becky And Her Kayak

Hi Everybody!  I just returned from a week’s vacation on Mount Desert Island, Maine.  I had an amazing time, despite the %$@##!! government shutdown.

Since I tend to plan my vacations around national parks so I have possible photographic and writing material for the National Parks Traveler, I wrote up an article about a sea kayak tour I took with the hopes of seeing Acadia National Park from that vantage point.

Here is the link to get to that article.

By the way, the Traveler is having a membership drive.  You should go check them out.  There are always timely articles about the national parks (by that, I mean other articles in addition to my own wonderful contributions – grin) and a number of agencies have ads for discounts, etc on this site.  Might help you plan your own trip to a national park (when the shutdown ends, that is – or, at least to a national park in Utah, where state funds are paying for the parks’ maintenance).

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Filed under Acadia National Park, Equipment, Landscape, Maine, National Parks, Parks, Photography, Travel

Sunrise Over Swiftcurrent Lake and Grinnell Point, Glacier National Park, MT

Sunrise Over Swiftcurrent and Grinnell Point, Many Glacier area of Glacier National Park, MontanaI was going to post this photo on one of the Montana- or GNP-related Facebook pages out there, only to discover, to my chagrin, that these pages not only do not allow for visitor uploads, but some of them are basically just place markers directing visitors to go to the actual website. Ok, that’s fine. I want people to visit my website (and maybe purchase something). And I don’t allow for visitor uploads on *my* Facebook page either (probably because the page says Rebecca Latson Photography – a rather specific page). Nonetheless, I have a bit of a beef with those public pages that *are* simply used as place markers and don’t have any interesting stuff or postings on them. It’s a bit of a turnoff. If you are going to have a Facebook page, then for heaven’s sake, post stuff to it! That way, if people really *are* interested in seeing more of your stuff (like your photo galleries on your website), then they will go visit that website. And, they will “Like” your page, showing visitors that your page actually has some merit to it.

Ok, I’m off my soap box. I admit to being a bit cheesed off about not being able to upload my photo to one or more of those specific pages. *Maybe* it hurt my inflated ego just a little bit, since I am proud of my work and want to advertise my photographic talents (in the hope of snagging some bizness). Nonetheless, I think what I wrote above is still true.

What do *you* think?

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Filed under Glacier National Park MT, Landscape, National Parks, Photography, Travel

A Stormy Morning at Brazoria National Wildlife Refuge

Rain has been predicted for the past couple of days.  With that rain, I figured there might be some interesting storm clouds over at the Brazoria NWR.  I woke up this morning at 6AM, peeked out the window, saw some big puffy clouds, and was on the road to the refuge before 7AM.

The morning did not disappoint:  dramatic storm clouds, distant thunder, sporadic flashes of lightning, and hordes of  herons, egrets, black-necked stilts, terns, some roseate spoonbills in the background, and four different sightings of American alligators.

For photography with storm clouds (or any kind of  clouds, really), always make sure you have a graduated ND filter with you.  During the really dark part of the morning, I removed the circular polarizer.  However, as the daylight progressed, I placed the polarizers back on the lenses.  Polarizers make blue skies bluer, clouds more dramatic, and can darken water and either enhance or eliminate reflections, depending upon which way you turn the polarizer ring.

My first stop was the refuge center’s lawn, where I photographed a bunny that looked a little the worse for wear, bless its heart.

8012_Bunny

8049_Bunny

8076_Bunny Closeup

After that, it was a few hundred feet to the boardwalk over Big Slough (pronounced “slew”).

7699_Stormy Morning Big Slough

7702_Sunrise Over Big Slough

7705_Stormy Morning Big Slough

Before getting into the car to head to Olney Pond, I stopped to photograph this little mockingbird.  They are wonderful posers.

8084-2_MockingbirdCROP

As I closed in on Olney Pond, I could hear a cacophony of noise before I even saw the birds.  I couldn’t believe my eyes – it was a freaking heron and egret  convention (along with some stilts, terns, and one or two alligators in the mix).  So, if you ever are in the area and want to visit the refuge, I’d say the early morning is the best time to see the birdlife.  Oh, and make sure you have your bug repellant.  Those Cutter wipes are awesome.

7714_Stormclouds Over Olney Pond

8161_Breakfast On Olney Pond

8120_Herons and Egrets

8139-4_Herons and Egrets CROP

8149-2_Heron Reflection CROP

8220_Great Egret VERT

This guy was looking for breakfast, and no, it did not get the heron you see in the background.

8191_American Alligator

As the thunder rolled in the distance, and a teeny bit of rain sprinkled on the car, I continued along down the road and set up my tripod.

This is looking back up the road from whence I came.  I could see a “thunder bumper” beyond, as the storm rolled over and past me with but a few sprinkles.

7729_Looking Back

7718_Stormy Morning

7726_Looking Up The Bayou

7752_Stormy Sunrise

7771_Storm Over The Coast

By the time 8AM arrived, the storm clouds had departed the area and the sky was starting to get its typical hot, hazy look on a humid Texas day.  Plus, the mosquitoes were ganging up on me (but the Cutter wipes held true), and I wanted to get home to start working with my new photos.

All in all, it was a very good, stormy morning, at the Brazoria NWR.

7785_Bench With A View

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Filed under Brazoria NWR, Clouds, Landscape, Photography, Texas

Evening On The Boardwalk at Brazoria NWR

Evening On The Boardwalk At The Brazoria NWR Center

I had published a post of my morning at this place and figured that was pretty much it. But as the afternoon then early evening progressed, I saw the day was still sunny and dry, the skies clear, and the clouds were amazing. So I hopped in the car and arrived back at the refuge by 5PM and proceeded to spend a couple of hours there.

The neat thing about this place is that it’s a bit out of the way for the Houston metro area, so there were very few people there, both during the morning the day previous, and especially this evening the day after. I saw a couple bicycling down the gravel road, and one other birder couple out with their binocs. And that was it.

This image was captured back at the refuge center. I was essentially looking directly at the sun. I had a circular polarizer on my 16-35mm lens, and also used a 4×6 Lee 4-stop grad filter which I handheld in front of the lens (rather than use a square filter holder, which I don’t own, I just put the filter flush with the lens and move it up and down accordingly. Works for me.)

This is a view of Big Slough, looking toward the Big Slough Trail. *This* time, I remembered to use some bug wipes and I had absolutely no problem with the mosquitoes at all.

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Filed under Brazoria NWR, Photography, Wildlife Refuge

Brazoria National Wildlife Refuge

Although I have a full plate of things to do around the home during the 2012 three-day Memorial Day weekend, I still tend to get a little stir crazy if I can’t go out and photograph something during my time off.

While I may bitch about living in southeast Texas (being a gal from the mountains, I’ll always be doing that), I readily admit that it’s rather nice to have two very interesting photographic ops right at my back door:  Brazos Bend State Park, and the Brazoria National Wildlife Refuge.

Right after visiting with my mother on Saturday morning, I grabbed my cameras, loaded them, tripod, and myself into the car, and drove the 20 miles south-southeast to check out the Brazoria National Wildlife Refuge.

Map

I’ve been there before, but that was back in 2007 (if I remember correctly).  At that time, the road to the refuge center was only paved for maybe 2 miles, and the remainder was all gravel.  So I was pleasantly surprised to find that now, in 2012, the entire road to the refuge center is paved.

For the photos you see here, I used my Canon 5D Mark II cameras and my 16-35mm and 70-200mm lenses.  I carried everything in my new Lowepro Fastpack 350, which, btw, is AWESOME!  I am going to Mesa Verde NP and Arches NP later this year, and wanted something that would carry a camera and long lens, as well as water, snacks, etc.  Ok, sorry, I went off on a tangent.  The 16-35 lens was attached to the tripod for landscape shots, and I hand held the 70-200 lens (with IS turned “on”) for the wildlife and more close-in images. I find I hand hold this lens more often as not, eschewing the tripod ring.  I was pleasantly surprised upon post processing that I really only had to do a very little editing for light/brightness and a teeny bit for sharpness details on some (but not all) of the photos.  The light was just right that day – very sunny but with some interesting clouds.  So I kept the ISO at 200 and the aperture around 7.1.  Oh, and I gotta tell ya, a long lens is a must-have for this area.  Unlike Brazos Bend State Park, there are not many places to comfortably get up close and personal to the birdlife, and there is slim-to-no parking alongside the one-lane gravel road past the refuge center.   My 70-200mm was ok, but what I really needed was a lens 400mm or more.  But….one makes do with what one has.

Next to the refuge center is a boardwalk across Big Slough (pronounced “slew”), leading to  a plowed path called Big Slough Trail.  I didn’t go very far down the path because:

1)  The mosquitoes were horrible (they must have been as large as egrets!) and I forgot to wear bug repellent (I was in too much of a hurry to leave the apartment and that is one of the things I forgot, although I did remember to apply sunscreen and grab a hat).

2) As  far as I can tell from my walk and the map, this trail doesn’t  lead down to the water’s edge, which is where you really want to be to get those bird shots.

So I did some landscape and flower photography along the boardwalk before heading out along the gravel-road auto tour.

Note:  the Texas wildflower book I own is total crap and didn’t list half of the flowers I photographed.  I ran some searches online and couldn’t come up with much either, so many of these flowers won’t have captions to them.  If you think you know what the un-captioned flowers are, do let me know.

Sea Oxeye

6983_Sea Oxeye

Tropical Sage

6992_Tropical Sage

Unknown seed pods.

6996_Seed Pods

Unknown yellow flower.  There were a number of “look-alikes” in my useless wildflower book, but none of them really fit this image.  So I don’t know what these flowers are called.

7067_Unknown Yellow Flower

Unknown little white flowers.

7099_Unknown White Flower

Unknown red flowers.

7115_Texas Flowers

7122_Unknown Red Flower

Basketflower (at least my wildflower book has something).

7151_Basketflower ORIG

7182_Basketflower Hiding

7204-2_Basketflower

Unknown white flowers.

7165_Unknown White Flower

Unknown little purple flower.

7191_Unknown Purple Flower

Big Slough views from the boardwalk.

7632-2_Big Slough View3

7635_Big Slough View2

7638_Big Slough View REV

Big Slew inhabitant

7000-2_Dragonfly CROP

7034-2_Dragonfly On Branch

7107_Dragonfly and Blue Ripples

Nope, I didn’t see any American alligators.  It was hot already and I’m pretty sure they wanted to stay in the water to remain cool, rather than sun themselves in the growing heat.

After my visit to the refuge center boardwalk area, I climbed back into the car (followed by hoards of mosquitoes) and started along the gravel road auto tour.  It’s basically one-way, although they don’t have arrows – instead they have signs with numbered stops (which means there is probably a tour guide within the center  that I should have gone in get).  It’s practically impossible for one car to pull over to allow a car from the opposite way to pass you….as I can attest….

7220_Path To My Car

7662_The Trail

Texas coastal marshland and wetlands as far as the eye can see.

7654_TX Coastal Marshland

7667_Reflections

7675_TX Wetland

Gull-billed tern taking flight.

7358_Gull Billed Tern in flight

Ibis in the water.

7419_Ibis In The Water

Red-wing blackbird.  You can’t  see its red markings in these photos but I did when it spread its wings out.

7421_Red WingBlackbird ORIG

7421-2_Red Wing Blackbird

Ahhhh…..Progress (??)

7352-2_Progress

If any of you are interested, I just published to my Blurb Bookstore a 150-page journal titled Texas Coastal Images.  Half of the journal is filled with totally awesome photos taken in such places as Brazos Bend State Park, Port Aransas, Padre Island, and the Brazoria National Wildlife Refuge and the other half is nothing but blank lined pages for writing/artwork.  It would make a great gift for yourself or someone who is a fan of coastal Texas landscapes, flowers, and wildlife (mainly birdlife).  Click on the book link on the left side of this blog and it will take you directly to that particular book in my bookstore.  You can preview the pages of this journal and see for yourself the Masterpiece that I have created.

Hey, it’s all about marketing! Winking smile

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Filed under birds, flowers, nature, Photography, Texas

Evening On Elliott Bay, Seattle WA

I’ve been pretty darned prolific with the posts, I readily admit.  Probably because next weekend I doubt I will have a chance to post anything at all.  I’m photographing a wedding on the 29th and so will be readying myself and my cameras for that awesome event.  Hence, the reason for my prolific-ness (is that even a word??)

After publishing an earlier post about my Seattle 2012 stay, I found some more photos I took during that first wonderful afternoon gazing out my hotel window onto the ever-changing scenery of Elliott Bay.

So, here they are.

94C0003_Ferry and Evening Stormcloud - IMAGENOMIC

94C0008_Ferry and Evening Stormcloud

94C0022_Sun Storm Ferry IMAGENOMIC

94C0049-2_Storm Cloud Cargo Ship Sunlight

94C0169_Tugboat At Sunset

94C0113_Elliott Bay Sunset

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Filed under Landscape, Photography, Seattle, Travel, Vacation, Washington State